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Molecular dysregulation in mood disorder, psychosis and ADHD



Using clinical and population-based naturalistic cohorts and a model of depression-like behavior, we study molecular dysregulation in mood disorder, psychosis and ADHD. Our studies will focus on the interlinked processes inflammation, metabolic stress, mitochondrial activity and telomere regulation. We investigate mechanisms and markers of disease and treatment effects though genetic, epigenetic and biochemical analyses. This is performed primarily, but not exclusively, in candidate gene networks. We collaborate within large international consortia for genome-wide genetic association studies.



Catharina Lavebratt

Catharina Lavebratt is Associate Professor of Medical Genetics at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet and leads the research group Neurogenetics, together with Professor Martin Schalling, located in Center for Molecular Medicine at the Karolinska University Hospital, Solna. Her research interest is to understand molecular mechanisms behind psychiatric disorders thus enabling better diagnosis, prevention and more individualized treatment. She is the head of a randomized clinical trial (RCT) in ADHD focusing on the gut microbiota. She is responsible for the molecular workpackages in four clinical or naturalistic population-based studies of mood disorder or anxiety (,, PART) and psychosis (FitForLife), two being RCTs, as well as collaborates with clinically active psychiatrists and psychologists having medium to large size clinical cohorts, primarily of patients with bipolar disorder or psychosis. She is using a model of depression-like behavior to enable studies in brain tissue in collaboration with preclinical researchers. Catharina has been the main supervisor of 7 PhD students now graduated, most of which have embarked on a research career, and she has authored 107 international peer-reviewed articles, being first or senior author on 59% of those. The research group, for which the leadership shared with Martin Schalling, has 20 members including affiliated clinical scientists. She currently supervises 5 PhD students and 2 postdoctoral scientists. The KI External Research Evaluation (ERA) evaluated the Neurogenetics group as Outstanding 2011.

Catharina Lavebratt is Director of postgraduate studies at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery.



Catharina, with a MSc degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnology from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, received her PhD degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnology from KTH in 1996. She was a Swedish Research Council Medicine-postdoctoral fellow at McGill University, Canada, and thereafter a Swedish Research Council Medicine-Junior researcher (Forskarassistent) at Karolinska Institutet until 2006, and has since then a senior researcher position at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet. She became docent (Associate professor) at Karolinska Institutet in 2003.


Selected publications

International Consortium On Lithium Genetics (conli+gen), Amare AT, Schubert KO, Hou L, Clark SR, Papiol S, et al. Association of Polygenic Score for Schizophrenia and HLA Antigen and Inflammation Genes With Response to Lithium in Bipolar Affective Disorder: A Genome-Wide Association Study. JAMA psychiatry 2018;75(1):65-74

Kaldo V, Lundin A, Hallgren M, Kraepelien M, Strid C, Ekblom Ö, et al. Effects of internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy and physical exercise on sick leave and employment in primary care patients with depression: two subgroup analyses. Occupational and environmental medicine 2018;75(1):52-58

Melas PA, Guban P, Rahman MS, Lavebratt C, Forsell Y. Neuropeptide Y, stressful life events and personality trait conscientiousness: Preliminary associations from a Swedish longitudinal study. Psychiatry research 2018;263():48-53

Rahman MS, Millischer V, Zeebari Z, Forsell Y, Lavebratt C. BDNF Val66Met and childhood adversity on response to physical exercise and internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy in depressed Swedish adults. Journal of psychiatric research 2017;93():50-58

Persson N, Persson J, Lavebratt C, Fischer H. Effects of DARPP-32 Genetic Variation on Prefrontal Cortex Volume and Episodic Memory Performance. Frontiers in neuroscience 2017;11():244

Hukic D, Ösby U, Olsson E, Hilding A, Östenson CG, Gu HF, et al. Genetic variants of increased waist circumference in psychosis. Psychiatric genetics 2017;27(6):210-218

Persson N, Lavebratt C, Ebner NC, Fischer H. Influence of DARPP-32 genetic variation on BOLD activation to happy faces. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience 2017;12(10):1658-1667

Lavebratt C, Herring MP, Liu JJ, Wei YB, Bossoli D, Hallgren M, et al. Interleukin-6 and depressive symptom severity in response to physical exercise. Psychiatry research 2017;252():270-276

Kumar P, Millischer V, Villaescusa JC, Nilsson IAK, Östenson CG, Schalling M, et al. Plasma GDF15 level is elevated in psychosis and inversely correlated with severity. Scientific reports 2017;7(1):7906

Liu JJ, Wei YB, Forsell Y, Lavebratt C. Stress, depressive status and telomere length: Does social interaction and coping strategy play a mediating role? Journal of affective disorders 2017;222():138-145

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